Lawmakers, Advocates Highlight New #METOO Laws Taking Effect January 1

December 20, 2018

LAWMAKERS, ADVOCATES HIGHLIGHT NEW #ME TOO LAWS TAKING EFFECT JANUARY 1

Los Angeles –In the wake of the #metoo movement, in which countless women and men shared their stories and demanded action to combat sexual assault and harassment, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) joined lawmakers, advocates, and actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette today to highlight California’s #metoo bills going into effect this January.

“The #metoo movement exposed the rampant culture of sexual assault and harassment many women and some men have endured for decades. This legislation represents a major step forward as California begins to address the loopholes in law that have allowed such behavior to persist for so long,” said Senator Jackson. “We owe a debt of gratitude to all who bravely shared their stories, often in the face of intimidation and fear of retaliation. Without them, we would not have the reforms we are celebrating here today.”

As the #metoo movement brought attention to the pervasiveness of sexual harassment across all industries, Jackson, who is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, convened two hearings this year to examine the legal and cultural factors that enable sexual harassment to persist unabated. Many of the #metoo laws include reforms addressed at these hearings.

The following will go into effect on January 1, 2019:

  • Senate Bill 224 (Jackson): SB 224 expands sexual harassment protections to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment by investors, elected officials, lobbyists, directors and producers.
     
  • Senate Bill 1300 (Jackson): SB 1300 fights sexual harassment in the workplace by closing loopholes in the law that allow employers to avoid sexual harassment and discrimination law sand leave employees vulnerable to sexual harassment at work. This bill specifically prohibits non-disparagement agreements and “sneaky releases,” legal documents often presented when an employee is hired, or as a condition of receiving a wage or bonus, which have been used to shield serial harassers and prevent victims from speaking out and seeking justice in our courts.
     
  • Senate Bill 820 STAND Act (Leyva): SB 820 bans secret settlements (confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements) in cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault and sex discrimination. The bill permits the claimant to request confidentiality if she / he chooses.
     
  • Assembly Bill 3082 (Gonzalez): AB 3082 ensures workplace protections are equally available to low-wage workers by developing a policy to report, document and investigate sexual harassment claims in the In-Home Supportive Services program. Caregivers in the IHSS program have had no meaningful protection in the workplace prior to AB 3082, yet these workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment due to the job’s physical isolation and low wages.  

“While California’s new #metoo laws represent significant progress, there is still more work to be done to ensure our workplaces are safe and free from harassment. We are just getting started,” said Senator Jackson.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

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